Our initial plan was to go to Kemmangundi, but since we did not find any accomodation in the homestays or resorts of our choice, we decide to goto Kudremukh. Of course Kudremukh is not as good as Kemmandagundi , but still we enjoyed a lot. This township was built for the Government owned Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Limited (KIOCL) for its activities. Mining have been stopped now and a National Park have been set up with name Kudremukh National Park. The town is sorrounded by lofty peaks and dense forests on all sides. Kudremukh is in Chikmaglur district.
We started early at 6 AM from our house, took the NICE road to Tumkur --> Nelamangala --> Hasan ---> Belur --> Mudigere --> Kottigerhara --> Kalasa -- Kudremukh.
The roads till Hassan are good, We stopped in coffee day along the way for breakfast. Till Belur its okay, then it becomes very tiring, to drive in ghats and roads are average with potholes. We took almost 4 hours to reach to Kudremukh from Hassan. Another thing we found was that people were driving very reckless in ghats, overtaking on blind spots on narrow roads. Just fortunate to have avoided accidents. Roads are not upto the mark, but then that may be the reason that its less crowded and a pleasing place. We reached there at 1 PM , 7+ hours of driving, had lunch in Homestay and then we proceded out in the evening for activities. We must have driven around 350 kms from our home.
Kudremukh is a ghost town since there is not much available for tourists here, like no good options for food, plus the small town shuts down at night. The best time to Visit Kudremukh is post monsoon August to March is good time. In Monsoon Kudremukh comes to a halt. There are not may good options to stay here. There is a resort at Kalasa named Silent valley resort. Horanadu which is 10km from Kalasa and 30km from Kuduremukha also has lodges available. If you stay here you will have access to Horanadu temples but then you will be away from other attractions.
We stayed in a homestay called Upasana, its 2 to 3 kms from Samsa junctions. This is nestled in hills and offers simply spectacular view from the homestay. I dont think you would have seen anything like this before. Many people just come to stay at Upasana and dont go much around. Spending weekend here is more than enough. The flipside is that rooms have common toilets, so you will have to go out and share the toilet with others. The place is well maintained by well known Yoga teacher Sukumar. They are very professional people and try to make your stay pleasant.
Another option would be Bhagwati nature camp, Previously known as Mukambika Reserved Forest. it has Number of trekking trails. Guides are available and its Best for Camping. 12 or 13 tented cottages are available (for rent) for camping. Two guest houses are also there. But you should bring in their ration, and the cook will help you in cooking. Multiple trekking routes start from here. Kudremukha Peak - 1892M high, 18KM long; Kurinjal - 1753M high, 7KM long; Gangdikal - 1455M high, 4KM long; Sita Bhumi - 1473M high, 15KM long; Valikunja - 1039M high, 14KM long; Narasimha Parvatha - 1150M high, 19KM long. This is and easy place to find in Kudremukh there are signboards all along.
Another option for stayiing would be nammane home stay
There are lot of tea and coffee plantations in Kudremukh which offers good views all around. There is a small waterfalls around 3 kms from the homestay, its good if you want to have the privacy ,but water falls are not that good, just okay.
First day we went to Hanumangundi falls. Its quite far around 30 kms from Samsa junction. The falls are really good, you have to climb down 300 steps. It taks 10 mins to climb down and 30 mins to climb up. There is person who was selling pineapples at the entrance, we never had such juciy and sweet pineapples. Beware of monkeys here, dont carry food items in your hand, keep it in bags.
3 kms or so before Hanumangundi you will see Ganga Moola which is Origin of Rivers Tunga and Bhadra. Its One and half a kilometer walk, off from the main Ghat road. We skipped this spot. But its good for Trekkers. There is also Kadambi falls which you can see from main road itself. Its only good when its raining, otherwise its best skipped. You can go inside the fallss but beware of monkeys, we skipped this too.
From there we went to the sunset point in Kalasa since our homestay is near Kalasa. Duggappanakatte is the name of that View Point: It gives best view of Western Ghats. Offers great view of sorroundngs of Kalasa and the Ghats in the background. In morning its covered in mist and the mist disappers with Sun rise and, peaks of the Ghats become visble while bottom halfs are still covered in mist. This is an awesome scene. Horanadu has Famous for the temple of Annapurneswari. Its around 8Kms from Kalasa. Apart from that there is nothing much to see there.
We retired for the day, went back to homestay had dinner and went to bed tired. :) Another problem in homestay is that Airtel network does not work there. In fact in entire Chickmaglur Airtel does not work. I believe from Belur to other end of Kudremukh there was no signal. I believe Reliance and Vodafone work here.
Next day, morning we had decide to goto Udupi, but we still had somethings to cover in Kudremukh. First we went to see the hanging bridge which is quite long and really good but difficult to spot from main road. Locals will not know much, but you can keep trying. Next we went to Lakya Dam.The dam is open to visitors between 4:30 and 5:30 pm during week days and 9:30 am to 5:30 pm on Sundays. View is good and very different. The homestay people had warned us that one should not go alone to Lakya dam, else there may be some incidents of robbery. After that we drove along the same road to Udupi
I dont think Kudremukh National park is open yet. Some people have posted that they went for trekking in NP, but we did not find any such thing open to tourists. You may have to check this before you plan your trek.
Bangalore -Nelamangala - NH4 - 29km
Nelamangala - Kunigal - Channarayapatna - Hassan - NH48 - 156 km
Hassan - Belur - Chickmagalur - SH 57 - 55 km
Chickmagalur - Vastare - SH 64 - 8km
Vastare - Aldur - Balehonnur - 40km
Balehonnur - Magundi - 13km
Magundi - Balehole - Kalasa - SH66 - 20km
Kalasa - Samse - Kudremukh - SH66 - 40 km
All in all it was a good trip so really the things to do are
- Hanumangundi falls
- Hanging bridge
- Sunset point
- Lakya dam
- Horanadu temple (Annapurneswari)
- See tea plantations / coffe plantations along the way and enjoy the drive though the ghats. Stop on the way for some scenic shots.
- Enjoy your homestay / resort stay and if there any plantations or waterfalls nearby just go trekking there.
If the road conditions improve then its a good weekend getaway you can leave saturday morning 5 AM and come back sunday night at around 11 PM or 12 AM and complete all the activities.